Best Buddy – fighting depression with your smartphone

Have you ever felt sad or hopeless even though you seem to have a good and meaningful life? There are many chances you have. According to an article published by World Health Organization, based on a systematic review of data and statistics from EU countries, 27% of the adult population aged 18–65 had experienced at least one of a series of mental disorders in one year (this included problems arising from substance use, psychoses, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders). But the numbers explodes if we’re talking into account soft depression forms, like sadness and low moods that almost everyone experiments every once in a while.

Could this be a business starting point? Four Romanian students demonstrated so. With the support of their teacher and JA Romania mentors, Alexandru Amarandei-Stănescu, Valentin Bucur, Matei Tita and Alexandru Sasu found a way to combine entrepreneurship and social benefits.
Conventional entrepreneurs typically measure performance in profit and return, but social entrepreneurs take into account a positive return to society. They seek for solutions that transform people’s lives and contribute to a better world.

An innovative idea
The students from “Tudor Vianu” National College of Informatics from Bucharest came up with a solution for a social issue that affects an increasing number of people: depression and anxiety. They created a smartphone application that offers personalized support to people that experience a low mood and have compartmental and communication issues.

Our application seeks to tackle depression and related problems, such as anxiety or anti-sociability. We have especially targeted persons aged 40-60, who have a higher risk. The social impact consists in changing user perspective on daily life. The app’s features encourage people to restart and increase their social activities and to take a more open attitude on life changes, whether good or bad”, the team members said.
Best Buddy app combines the technology’s advantages with psychological expertize to become a loyal and useful companion for each individual who experiences feelings of emptiness.

How does it work?
Best Buddy influences users to change their perceptions and behavior using quotes, challenges and motivational images and tasks, carefully designed with the help of psychologists.
The application’s server retrieve information submitted by users. The profile form contains short and simple questions such as: Are you employed / student? Do you have many responsibilities? Are you satisfied with your body? The answers will be submitted to the server and analyzed along with the general mood, generating advices, motivational quotes, call-to-action and exercises tailored for each user specific needs.
The students are hoping that their app will become an efficient solution for many people feeling alone, distracted, anxious or depressed and who cannot afford seeing a therapist. Hence, the team found an innovative idea of social entrepreneurship that could become a valuable help for many people dealing with depression. The application will be soon available for Android and iOS smartphones.

Quote: “The app’s features encourage people to restart and increase their social activities and to take a more open attitude on life changes, whether good or bad”- Alexandru Amarandei-Stănescu